Sunday, May 29, 2011

Annoying Things To Do If You're a False Prophet: Teach High School English

FTR: I had to read "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" when I was a junior in high school.  I'm still a little mad about that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy False Prophet Day, Mr. Camping.

Although, in fairness, anyone who teaches the "Left Behind" understanding of the Rapture is equally a false prophet.

So here you go:

Awesome Things To Do if You Have Mutant Powers:
Mess with Premillenial Dispensationalists

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Super True Stories: Episode 2.5

Either the Gospels are true.  Or the authors are the laziest writers ever.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Lutheran Mother's Day

So it took me forever and an hour to put together, but here it is.  A video celebration of our Lutheran mamas.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Video Help

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I'd like to put a video on the youtube page, a video of various people finishing the following sentence:

I'd like to thank my Lutheran mother for...

Responses can be funny, silly, sweet, sentimental, but should have some theological merit.  If you'd like to be in the youtube video, please make the video however you want (webcam, cell phone camera, regular video camera) and email it to

Those with nonlutheran Christian moms, if you'd like to submit a video, my terms and conditions are:

1. You give me permission, for the sake of continuity, to make it seem as though your mom is a Lutheran.
2. You give me permission to make fun of whatever non Lutheran thing your mom is.

Please, please, please help me out.  The video will be made of super concentrated awesome sauce.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Thoughts on "Those" Pastors

This morning, I received an email from a brother LCMS pastor concerning my last post.  In very kind and respectful language, this fellow explained to me why he thought it was wrong to equate discriminating based on the color of a pastor's skin with discriminating based on the seminary that a pastor attended.  I know that this pastor isn't the only one to disagree with me, so I thought I'd post my response to his email here in order to explain my thoughts in greater detail.  

Here's an excerpt from his email, with his permission:

The latest post you have on black vs Ft Wayne is not entirely accurate. Prejudice because of color strips away anything else about an individual -- I look at you and I say "This is the one thing that matters." 
But a school is a place of education and forming. And like it or not, back in the day, there was a bit of a distinction between the sems of our Synod... Ft. Wayne in the past was doing enough things to make a distinction. It certainly affected the view people had of their students. But that is not a pre-judging. It is hearing what is being taught.
While I agree that racism strips away anything else about an individual, I would argue that the chief offense of racism is that racism is rooted in empty accusations/assumptions of sin.  So, for example, if a man does not want his daughter to marry her black boyfriend because he believes that this black man will be more likely to commit adultery than a man of another race, he has broken the eighth commandment by assuming that this young man is going to break the sixth commandment.  So, without cause, without proof, without evidence, he condemns his neighbor by looking at the man's race and concluding, "you will not be faithful to your marriage vows."

And, at its core, this is the same thing that an LCMS congregation does when she concludes that a graduate of CTS ought not be trusted with her altar, font and pulpit.

Of course, I understand how congregations reach this conclusion.  After all, the recent placement services at each seminary certainly give some credence to the perception that Fort Wayne is a higher-church institution, while St. Louis is a bit more "flexible."  (Although I don't know that streamers fall under the category of "contemporary," as much as they do the category of "why they heck do they have streamers?")  Likewise, if a congregation wants a pastor that approves of contemporary worship (whatever that means), it makes sense that you'd want to avoid the seminary that neither practices nor endorses CW.

But even if that makes sense, it doesn't make it right.  Because it's a Lutheran pastor's job to examine the worship practices of his congregation in light of Scripture and the Confessions, regardless of her worship "styles."  And it's also his job to return his congregation to faithfulness in practice if ever she has strayed.  That's what God has charged pastors to do and it's what congregations should expect their pastors to do. 

So whenever a congregation assumes that a Fort Wayne pastor is going to behave like a tyrant break and thus break the fifth commandment against her, she breaks the eighth commandment against him.  Whenever a congregation assumes that a Fort Wayne pastor is more likely than the other kind to make laws where God has given us freedom, she is emptily assuming him to be a sinner.  Likewise, whenever she assumes that the Fort Wayne fellow is going to lead with a spirit of intimidation and arrogance and not a spirit of love and service, she is once again accusing him of sin without cause.

So this is why I made the analogy of racism.  Just as it's wrong to use the color of a man's skin to accuse him of sin, so it's also wrong to use a man's alma matter to accuse him of the same thing.  And just as a Christian ought to assume that his neighbor is going to honor his marriage vows, so a congregation should also assume that her brother is going to honor his ordination vows.

My name is Pastor Hans Fiene.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One of "Those" Guys

 Imagine you're a district president and there's a vacant congregation under your supervision that has asked to call a candidate from the seminary.  So you drive your Toyota Prius to their church building in order to talk with them about how this process is going to work.  But before you can even finish your opening salutation of "Greetings, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Risen Lord..." they punch you in the nose with the following information:

We don't want one of those black guys.  Our last pastor was an African-American and he did a bunch of things that we didn't like.  He drove away members and changed many of our congregation's practices.  And we don't want that to happen again.  So please don't give us another black pastor.  Don't give us another African-American guy because we're afraid he'll just do the same things as the other one.

So, if you're the DP, what do you say to this congregation?  How do you respond?
Well, if you have the slightest interest in defending your neighbor, you tell this group of people that they have broken the 8th commandment.  You tell them that, by assuming that a pastor with the same skin color as the other guy is going to be guilty of the same transgressions, they have told lies about their neighbor and betrayed him.  You inform them that, by concluding that anyone who shares the cultural upbringing of the previous pastor will most certainly share his sins, they have slandered their brother in Christ and hurt his reputation.  And, if you are interested in being faithful to your call, you tell them that you will not give them a pastor until they repent.

So imagine that.

Then imagine that you're that same district president.  You drive that same Toyota Prius to another congregation and start greeting them with your district president greeting and they hit you in the nose with this piece of information:

We don't want one of those Fort Wayne guys.  Our last pastor was a Fort Wayne grad and he did a bunch of things that we didn't like.  He drove away members and changed many of our congregation's practices.  And we don't want that to happen again.  So please don't give us another CTS candidate.  Don't give us another Fort Wayne guy because we're afraid he'll just do the same things as the other one.

So, if you're the DP, how do you respond?

Well, hopefully you respond exactly the same way you did the first time.  Because it's exactly the same thing.

My name is Pastor Hans Fiene.  Thanks for reading.

The "How To" Show: Episode Three

Arrogance made easy.